29 May 2009

Mainly for S2H

A whisky/beer review to follow at some point today, but in the meantime meanderings of my life to remove mullets from delicate wee things eyes.

I'm spending the day not doing much, so far, clothes washing and house cleaning feature prominently. But I'm also reorganising my itunes library, as moving it from one external drive to the NAS seems to have broken a lot of links. This could take a while. If anyone has a quick solution, let me know (I'm thinking of you Grand Master P-dawg...), otherwise skim through and drag n drop back in. Party on !!

Had a nice night with good friends last night, great food, excellent whisky, superb wine and top notch cuban cigars. Wonderful. thanks guys :)
Much the same in store tonight as it's Rich's birthday party. I've even decided wot to get him...just need to move and do it. Meh, it'll keep.

Love and kisses, me

23 May 2009

pisht post

feck it. suffer.

and there's more

i guess i should leave you with something less painful (steinmanful?)

which is one of my altime fav songs.

pisht post

wasn't intending to drink, but there ya go.

watching youtube vids, petshop boys (it's a sin); depeche mode; frankie goes to hollywood and now sisters of mercy, i dunno wot it is about them - guess its the keys and the guitar interplay, particualr in this track, more.

Gray's Anatomy : the book

I recently read The Anatomist : A True Story of Gray's Anatomy by Bill Hayes. Figured it was worth changing from CD/movie/booze reviews briefly to comment on this. The title is misleading, the book actually explores Gray's collaborator, the anatomical artist (and Dr. in his own right) Henry Carter. Mainly as there is more information to be found about him than Gray (who died young, 34). As a biography of Carter, it's interesting, but not great.
The author sat in on some anatomy dissections to try and understand what the Henry's achieved, which I guess provides some context. However I felt there was too much of the author and his opinions/feelings in the writing, failing as a biography of either Henry. Hayes' detective work to find dissected items of Gray's is interesting, but ultimately doesn't help illuminate what drove Gray or Carter. And his comparative work of 19th London with what Gray's hospital has become is pointless.
Hayes goes to great lengths to frequently reiterate that he is gay, another example of too much of the author, not enough of the subject. The reason becomes clear later when he begins dissecting his partners disease.
There have been a lot of positive reviews of this book, describing the interweaving of the authors anatomy courses and Gray's work as seamless. I'd disagree, I found it detracted from both leaving it without a focus. At no stage did I think I was reading a biography of Gray, and even as a biography of Carter, it was lacking detail - and much was 'inferred' by the author with limited support from surviving documentation.


19 May 2009

Ed's dead baby

Ed, my 24yo Edradour is gone. One of you will remember when I got it (blog here), the sheer
omfg response to this whisky. It is that good. Or was.
The last rather sizeable dram, is sitting in front of me.

Bye baby. I'll be getting more of you. In the meantime the 14yo 1994 will keep me company and she's a mighty fine wee thing too.

Love, slightly sad, B

PS: if its not raining and you want to see me in possibly the last academic look ever for me, I'm wandering along the main street at midday.

17 May 2009

Okkervil River

I'm writing this to the sounds of Nick Cave and the end of the world, and to the smells of French onion soup and date scones from the kitchen. Oh it's a hard life. Nibbles are blue cheese on a french stick and orange juice (no beer in the house apparently...).

I tried to engage enthusiasm for Okkervil River within my music addicted mates. I really did. The band are superb, and they have a reputation for brilliant live shows. So I picked up my ticket early - only S2H showed interest and sadly for him, circumstances prevented his attending. I tried, and largely succeeded, in not rubbing this in too much. It was a superb gig, even the support band The Family Cactus were great - go check them out. Actually they've got an album launch coming up soon - might amble along.
And the main band? Musically perfect, lyrically perfect, intriguing and what stage presence. the lead singer/songwriter is mesmerising, and these are not vacuous lyrics. He manages to go from alt-indie rock (almost punk) to solo ballad almost within the same song. I've only got Black Sheep Boy and a few tracks from various compilations, but I'm off to buy more ... My offer of consolation to S2H was that I think Old Crow Medicine Show were slightly better, but only slightly. Although from a long term musical appreciation perspective OR will last better.

And the obligatory video:

15 May 2009


Mildly pishd posht.

I like Dollhouse, I like how it's developing. And it's got Alan Tudyk. I like how joss keeps re-using his actors. Respect.
And what a great character Tudyk has :)

back to the rose. I sense whisky in my future, along with a crap movie. Fast n Furious may be an option, or Call of Cthulu for classic crap. Oh decisions. Better drink more.


Signs of the Apocalypse are trekking on

For all of those I presume I'm a geek, here's my strongest defence: I don't like Star Wars or Star Trek. With a couple of qualifiers, Empire is good, and the original Trek TV series was fun.
So it was with some trepidation I went along to the new Trek movie. It was at the Embassy which was one selling point, the other was JJ Abrams, I'm enjoying Fringe and everyone else seems to like Lost (which thus far I've managed to miss).

Hey it was good. Really good. Funny, intelligent, character driven, nice touches and tributes to the original TV series.

Recommended, good solid 7 or maybe even 8 /10.

Sadly i can't make any jokes like the wrath of khan (no wonder he was pissed, he read the script...).

Best trek line ever? Actually from the documentary Star Woids (which in itself is recommended): Make Trek Not War.

Back to my nice rose (Crab Tree Winery) which went very well with a hot spicy asian dish I made from crap in my cupboard - I have an adorable habit of wandering asian supermarkets and buying stuff I have no idea wot it's for.


Whisky : Midlands tasting

A friend kindly said that more people should read my blog. A lovely sentiment ruined slightly by the follow-up 'well your beer and food reviews anyway'. oh well, can't have everything.

It's a start, syndication here we come !!!

So the other week we had the Midlands whisky tasting. I was looking forward to this one as I'm quite keen on the midlands - a vague descriptor including regions we'd usually claim as Highlands. So how was it...

Glenturret G & M 40% 1990-2006. Nose: leather, apple, liniment, hint of sherry. Palate: soap, boring, dry. Finish: short, boring, strong overtones of vomit. 3.5/10. Yup that's how bad it was, I didn't even finish it. Now there's context for you :)
Glenturret 11yo Chieftains Port Finish Cask#90091, 90092 Oct 93-Sept05 43%. Nose: raisins, musty, caramel, sulphur, sweet. Palate: well none to speak of. Finish: nothing to speak of, very artificial. 5/10. Ok so a slight improvement on the first one, but still crap. I finished it, but only cos I wanted booze, and I'd used up the others...

Ahhh I've just found out Glenturrent is FamousGrouse's distillery. Explains a lot.

Glengoyne 21yo 43% unpeated Soap, coconut, apple, nice, very nice nose in fact. Palate: kinda bland. Finish: cheap wine (not a good look for whisky), short. 6/10. Not a good start TBH.
Glengoyne 16yo unpeated Ltd Ed Scottish Oak Finish 53.3% bottle 1746. Nose: sweet, sickly, xmas cake, middle aged. Palate: cask, caramel, hint of pepper - tasty very tasty. Finish: tingly and long. 8/10 much much better.
GlenGarioch 17yo Adelphi cask#2659 1990-2007 55.8% had hopes for this as Adelphi don't generally let you down. Nose: aniseed, not nice! wood glue Palate: cask, vanilla, butter. Finish: more butter! tingly and long. 8/10. Ok so it's not the best review, but it was a good wee drop.
Edradour SFTC Bourbon/Gaia borollo 12yo. This was the mystery malt, so apologies for the lack of detail and/or spelling mistakes. I may have mentioned my love for Edradour in passing. Maybe. Nose: sweet, raisins, salty, little bit of age. Palate: light, leather. Finish: high alc, short. 7/10. Probably wouldn't buy this, but it was interesting. I dunno, I don't seem a huge fan of the SFTC range, prefer the slighty older ones.
Edradour SFTC 10yo Sherry butt #84 97-08 58.8% 1051 bottles. So how did the other Edradour fare? Nose: sweet, vanilla, lollipops, varnish. Palate: cask, vanilla. Finish: coffee-chocolate, tasted like vinyl smells (which may mean something to some of you!), medium length finish. 8/10.

So over all a tasting of two halves, first 3 were crap and the last 4 were good to very good. Nothing outstanding, and I didn't buy anything - as I've got enough examples of this style. I'm not sure the tasting worked either, is the Midlands deserving of a separate tasting? If so, could we have had a better selection? We've done a fair number of the Edradour's over the years, could they have been replaced?

Next tasting is in a couple of weeks. We'll see how that goes...in the meantime I really should start to clean up some of my almost empty bottles.


10 May 2009

I am in great company

Dolly Parton now has a PhD.

Read it here.

Im now wondering why I didn't start B-land, get E-inserts, and inflict a working day song on millions.

Cooking with Bruce : Walnuts

So you've ended up with bollox loads of walnuts in your house? Damn shame that. Here's dirty uncle B's solutions...
It also means I get to use a hammer. As most of you know, I'm not big on woodwork stuff, but I do own a hammer - given to me as a present by despairing parents in an attempt to woo me from the kitchen...so as a compromise, I use the hammer to break nuts in my kitchen.

Pasta with blue cheese, walnut and cream sauce
Break nuts ! Cook pasta. While pasta is cooking, heat walnut (or good quality olive) oil on med-low, and gently fry walnuts. Turn heat down, add blue cheese (more is less is a good motto), add cream, fresh ground pepper. Mix with pasta. Eat.
I had mine with a Wychwood honey sweetened ale, worked well. Oh and you can use mascarpone instead of cream (which I think I did last time).

This led to a nice night, I watched Mongol (superb movie), had dinner, sipped liqueur coffee (frangelico, cream, cinnamon) then some Reaper. Very relaxing.

Walnut and date loaf/cake
This may have started out as a walnut and fig cake, but I never remember to get any figs.
1.5c walnuts, 2c chopped dates, 100gm+ good quality dark chocolate, slug of brandy/cognac/booze
Cream 100gm butter, 1c sugar, 2T honey, add 2 eggs and mix. Fold in .25c cocoa, 1.33c flour, 1t baking powder, dump everything else in. Mix. Bake at 150C for 1.25-1.5 hours.

Serve with booze, blue cheese (see how it ties in with last nights dinner), and cream.

I still have walnuts left, so if I remember to get some cornflakes some afghan biscuits may happen too. Glad the russian fudge has left...

Jerk fish is currently marinading, it's been quite domestic today - even done washing. Although it looks like it's going rain - again. Damn u big huey !!


9 May 2009

Europeans : vinyl

Wandering to the music quiz on Thurs I popped into SlowBoat and found the Europeans Live vinyl.
It appears they know me there as they asked if there was a Marillion connection. It's Steve Hogarth's first band (before How We Live).
The music is pretty dire. Actually that's being kind. It's derivative 80s pop. However it's nice to see it on vinyl, not sure if I'll hold onto it tho'.

Here's a couple of Europeans video's. Be warned, not for the faint of heart...although the second isn't as bad.


2 May 2009

Phoenix and Flight 666

I'm having a quiet night, it's been a busy wee week (blogs to follow - whisky included). It's been written with the aid of Poperings hommel bier, which has been sitting in the fridge for a few months, and for some reason tonight seemed the night to open. I'm about to cook a nice creamy fish curry to go with the beer.

Last night M, A (hmmm must get nicknames for those two) and I wandered along to the Phoenix Foundation. As usual the band had technical difficulties to start with (I think I've seen them once without tech problems), but they are very relaxed band live. And with it being a local gig, everyone is pretty forgiving.
Firstly the bad: audience. Fuckers. talking throughout the gig, there to be seen, not for the gig. I kinda fixed that by moving up towards the sound desk which seems to work at SanFranBH. The talking is usually a bit of a problem, but this was worse than normal.
The Good: sound balance (once tech problems sorted) was superb. Some of the best sound I've heard from Phoenix. Music-wise, the old stuff was heavier and more rocky, which worked very well. the new stuff seems to be going more prog (so more Luke than Sam), and the longer softer songs still have that country vibe going through. It's one of the reasons I love this band, the influences are so diverse, from electronica (TC Wedde); country (Sam; Will - kinda); prog (Luke), and yet it works. Some of the songs were like new releases by Neu. And the extended bits, the freakout sections, they are getting more and more interesting as a band - there were definite CAN influences, and yet still very recognisably Phoenix. Really good - looking forward to the new album, due out later this year. Gig, probably a 6.5-7/10

S2H and I went to the new Iron Maiden movie at Reading today. I hate Reading. But nevermind, best two hours I've spent in ages !!!! Fun, enjoyable movie with great music, cool atmosphere and a band who really understand why they are playing music. Definitely worth seeing. It's a good doco of a band on the road, and a band who understand how addicted their fans are - and how important a good show is. Their music really is a performance, which I commented on in the review of the gig I saw on the same tour.
Here's the promo for the movie: